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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

F-35C Hits Milestone

The U.S. Navy's F-35C Lightning II carrier variant completed its Air System Critical Design Review (CDR). The review was conducted in June at lead contractor Lockheed Martin’s Forth Worth, Texas, facility, and involved officials from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, the F-35 international-participant nations and the F-35 contractor team. Completion of the CDR is a prerequisite for the F-35C to move into Low Rate Initial Production. "We met our objectives for detailed design and performance while removing more than 200 pounds from the aircraft in the past seven months –– a major accomplishment,” said Terry Harrell, Lockheed Martin director of F-35 carrier variant development. The F-35C is designed to replace the F/A-18 Hornet and complement the newer F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. While it shares the fundamental design of the F-35A (conventional takeoff and landing) and F-35B (short takeoff/vertical landing), the F-35C is specialized for catapult launches and arrested recoveries on large aircraft carriers. It features 30 percent more wing area than the other two variants, larger tail and control surfaces, and wingtip ailerons. The U.S. Air Force requires 1,763 F-35As, scheduled for delivery beginning in 2010. The U.S. Marine Corps and Navy together are planning to operate 680 F-35Bs and F-35Cs. The United Kingdom plans to place 138 F-35Bs into service with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. The remaining F-35 participant countries plan to acquire more than 700 aircraft. For related news

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